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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: November 2011

11 - Damages: private law and the HRA – never the twain shall meet?


Section 8 of the HRA imported the private law remedy of damages into the public law field of human rights. This chapter considers the approach that the English courts have taken to damages under the Act, and discusses the possible interaction between such damages and damages principles developed in the common law of tort.

So far the English courts have, in the relatively few damages cases decided under the HRA, sought to distance the approach to damages under the Act from that at common law, preferring to transplant the Strasbourg court's approach to monetary compensation under Article 41 of the Convention into the domestic context. It is argued that this ‘mirror’ approach is deeply flawed, and ought to be abandoned. It cannot be supported on the terms of the HRA, it makes little sense as a matter of principle, and judges have struggled to apply the Strasbourg jurisprudence given its lack of principle.

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